5 Ways To Change Your Life Through Mind Mapping
I first came across the wonder of mind mapping in 2011 at a time when I was keen on exploring how to learn in a different way.
My thinking was far too linear and I really needed a way to explore my inherent creativity and go deeper into my thought process.
Mind mapping now plays a key role in all aspects of my life e.g. writing blogs or fleshing out a business idea. It acts as an intermediate stage between thinking and doing.
As an aside, I find it fascinating that the thing I randomly came across back in 2011 now plays a central role in my blogging, which is one way I exercise my creativity.
This speaks volumes to the saying that no knowledge or experience is ever wasted or lost.
The dots of life eventually connect and open up infinite possibilities.
The current century has been dubbed the century of the brain and the current millennium that of the mind as we go deeper in the age of intelligence.
Mastering the use of the mind coupled with communication creates a superpower that offers a competitive advantage in one's life.
Mind mapping is one way in which I have personally grown in my use of the aforementioned superpower and its impact on my life continues to be evident day after day.
What is a Mind Map?
A mind map is a visual and graphic way of creating an external mirror of what is going on inside our brains.
Creating a mind map requires ‘whole-brain', synergetic thinking and mimics the way neurons zap across our brains in search of new connections when we think.
[redbar]So rather than think ordinarily from the left side (logical) or right side (arty) of the brain, the mind map encourages radiant multilateral thinking.[/redbar]
As someone who works with numbers day in day out and flowing primarily from the left side of my brain, mind mapping has been a real revelation.
The branches that grow out of a mind map create sub-branches that encourage you to explore and create more ideas out of the thought you just had.
In addition, as all the ideas on a mind map are linked to each other, it helps your brain to make greater leaps of understanding and imagination.
The other really fascinating thing about the mind map is that it's all around us.
When next you're in a park, take a closer look at the veins on a leaf. Or at the trees and how all the branches and sub-branches originate out of the stem.
So too is the structure of the neuronal network that makes up the physical architecture of our brains.
Below are 5 Ways Mind Mapping Can Improve Your Life:
1. Radiant Thinking
Mind mapping helps you think from a given central point and allows you to think in all directions in quick succession.
Although the mind map is drawn on a two-dimensional piece of paper, it represents a multi-dimensional reality that encompasses colour, space, logic etc.
Radiant thinking is the way in which the brain has been designed to perform. Mind maps help us practically get the most out of that intended design as and when required.
Creativity is inherent in all of us but stays dormant the less it is stimulated or explored.
Flexibility has been identified as a key element of creative thinking. Other elements include:
- Being able to combine unusual elements together
- Ability to create new associations from existing ideas
- Reversing and turning existing ideas on their head etc.
Different colours, shapes, and dimensions help us think creatively because they engage our emotions and the way we see things.
Mind maps help boost our creativity by helping us:
- Explore all creative possibilities on a particular topic
- Generate ideas that lead to specific actions
- Clear default assumptions from our minds
- Plan creatively and deliberately
I have noticed a spike in my ability to concentrate since I started using mind maps in all aspects of my life rather than just ad-hoc.
Creating a mind map is actually quite relaxing and forces you to stay in the moment and lets your brain do the work of bringing forth ideas.
I use mind maps for such things as making my tasks for the day, preparing for meetings on the go or even writing the weekly meal plan.
4. Better Memory
The two main factors that determine your ability to recall anything are association and emphasis.
The majority of note taking and note making in schools and in our workplaces typically follow 3 patterns:
- Sentence or narrative style
- List style
- Outline numerical or alphabetical style
This approach has inherent weaknesses in it because it is using half the capacity of our brains.
The skills associated with our left and right sides of the brain aren't working with each other in a way that produces an upward shot in our growth and development.
Instead, we are more prone to forget things and don't find such activities fun or stimulating.
Mind mapping causes a real mash-up of your brain interactions per activity because it uses all your cortical skills. This activates your brain on many levels and makes it skillful at remembering stuff.
Making lists creates a sense of “coming to an end” when used for writing down ideas. Mind maps by their nature are never-ending as your thoughts make multiple connections from point to point.
Practically, I am able to do a tonne more because I ideate alot quicker, go deeper with my ideas and follow them through with immediate action points.
My doing aspect further to mind mapping, therefore, flows more naturally, resulting in higher quality and richer work with multiple dimensions captured.
In fact, this method is so effective for me, that no matter where I am, whether on a packed train or having a quick tea break, I am able to explore the depths and breadths of an idea in a very short time frame.
Tips for Using Mind Maps
- One central idea, word or image – This helps automatically focus the eye and brain and gives clarity.
- Use Colours – Colour boosts your ability to remember and allows you to better organise, categorise, order, code and learn.
- Apply codes – Codes help you make immediate connections between different parts of your mind map. These could include ticks, crosses, triangles, underlines etc
- One word per line – These words act as prompts and because a single word can have billions of possible associations, you have associational freedom.
- Connect lines – this enables you to connect thoughts in your mind.
How Do I use Mind Maps?
I use mind maps for pretty much everything I write down, and this includes lists.
It is particularly helpful because there are times when I have an idea for something and if I don't quickly write my thoughts down, those ideas disappear.
So I literally carry around a notepad everywhere and I create a mind map to flesh out my ideas on the move.
My approach is usually more free-flowing as you will see below, and I usually break a couple of the mind mapping rules above.
Sometimes I use one or two words, but other times I write more words than I need to but without losing the effect of the ever growing mind extension.
In substance though, I usually arrive at something that is extremely useful and guides my thoughts in my ideation stage of creating anything.
Below is an example of how I planned for this particular blog post:
Another example from prepping to write my Free Practical Money Course:
Mind mapping has been deeply rewarding for me and it's something I'd recommend to everyone I know.
There are many apps you can use for this, but I would recommend you get practical and use a couple of pens and plain paper ideally.
Keep it simple and let the magic happen!
To learn more, I'd absolutely recommend you grab a copy of The Mind Map Book by Tony Buzan, and join the global revolution that is transforming the way we think of our mind's potential and use of intelligence.
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Is Mind Mapping something you've ever considered? What is your experience with it?
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